Originally posted September 2005by Gael Stirler
Dice have been found depicted in the tombs of ancient Egypt and were mentioned in the Old and New Testament. Nearly every culture in the world has developed some form of random number tool for divination or gambling. Cube dice are the most popular but over the centuries around the world they have taken many shapes including cylindars, cubes, straws, polyhedrons, spheres, and the nucklebones of sheep. You can even find fanciful dice in the shapes of pigs and cows.
In the Middle Ages dice makers gathered in formal guilds and there were even guilds for dice gamblers. Dice were made of bone, ivory, stone, gems, precious metals, clay, and wood. They were all hand carved, often in amusing or lewd designs. False dice and loaded dice were common enough that there were many laws regarding the making, use, and possession of these cheaters tools.
Dice gaming was practiced in high and low society by both men and women in the Renaissance. It was reviled by the church enough in sermons of the day to let us know it was emensely popular. The English military could not eliminate dice gaming, so they made rules on how much could be wagered depending on the rank of the soldier or officer.
One popular game in the time of Queen Bess was known as Farkle. It is a kinsman to Yatzee and easy to learn. Add some period style entertainment to your next event with this fun game that can be played by two or more players just about anywhere.
Rules of Farkle: (also known as 10,000)
- Needed: 6 dice, pencil, & paper. A shaker cup is recommended. Any number of people can play. Teams of two or more can also play.
- To begin: Each player rolls one die and the highest gets to go first. Play rotates clockwise thereafter.
- Play: Each player (or team) tries to score points using various combinations of the dice. The scores are recored on the paper and accumulated until one player (or team) reaches 10,000 points.
- Tabling: At the begining of the player's turn, all 6 dice must be rolled, thereafter, to continue rolling, the player MUST set aside or "table" one or more SCORING die on every roll.
- Farkle: If a player rolls a non-scoring combination of dice, that player "busted" or "Farkled." He or she scores zero and passes the dice to the next player. The turn ends when the player Farkles or banks.
- Banking: f the player makes a roll with scoring dice, the player has the option of "banking" the points or rolling again. In other words, the player may gamble the points tabled or pass the turn and record the points on paper.
- Heavy Table: If a player ends up using all of the dice to score, then the player can choose to bank or continue rolling. If the latter choice, the player picks up all 6 dice and continues to add points to the "heavy table." The player looses all the points in a heavy table if the player Farkles.
- Piggybacking: When a player decides to stop and bank the points on paper, the next player has the option of starting all over with the six dice (and zero on the table) or starting with the dice positions the previous player chose NOT to continue playing. This is called "piggybacking." No heavy table piggybacking allowed. If the new player chooses the latter, and scores on the roll, the new points, plus banked points, go to the new player and the old player gets to keep only the banked points.
- Ettiquette tip:; Since the next player may choose to piggyback, it is bad manners for a banking player to scoop up the dice and pass them to the next player.
- Objective: The object of the game is to reach or exceed 10,000 points. (You may pick another target number.) When one player (or team) reaches or goes over 10,000 points, all other players get one more chance to exceed that score. The winner is the one with the highest number of points.
- Point values:
- Ones are 100 points each.
- Fives are 50 points each.
- Three of kind is the number times 100 points. (i.e. Three fives rolled at once is 500 pts. and not 150 pts.)
- Three Ones on one roll is 1,000 pts.
- A straight (1-2-3-4-5-6) on ONE ROLL is worth 1,500 pts.
- No "piggybacking" allowed.
- Play the game with only 5 dice to 5,000 points.
- After a three of a kind is rolled, the player must bank the points and pass to the next player.
- Some play to EXACTLY 10,000 points. If you go over you score zero that turn.
- Three Threes on one roll earns a penalty of -300 points.
- The player is only allowed to bank points if "on the board" by achieving a specified score, usually 450 points. In this variation the player may only bank 300 or more points per turn.
For information on the history of dice go to The Bone Rollers Guild
For the rules of Farkle in "The Queens English" see The Game of Farkle which requireth six goode dise.Purchase Pirate Farkle and Farkle score pads at www.renstore.com.
Scores in Farkle—Click here for a printer friendly version of this hint card
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